How to make Faulkner’s vision happen.

John Faulkner’s Revesby Speech contains a number of statements that lend themselves to being turned into motions, either rules change or policy changes:

Policy changes:

  • all political parties’ eligibility for public funding to be contingent on that party’s rules and decisions being justiciable
  • the donations disclosure threshold to be reduced from its current level of $12,800 to $1,000 and indexation removed
  • donations from foreign and anonymous donors to be banned
  • donation splitting across branches, divisions or units of parties to be limited
  • disclosure of donations to be fast and regular
  • breaches of electoral law to be an offence attracting significant penalties

Rule changes:

  • the practice of factions, affiliates or interest groups binding parliamentarians in Caucus votes or ballots to be banned
  • upper house candidates to be preselected by a full, statewide ballot of all Party members
  • State and National Conference to include a component of directly elected delegates, moving from the current model to: 60% directly elected, 20% elected by Affiliated Unions and 20% by Electoral Councils, reached in stages over the next three National Conferences
  • Union delegates to Party Conferences to be elected through a ballot of those union members that opt-in, conducted under the principle of proportional representation
  • for the purpose of determining union affiliation numbers, unions should only be able to count members who have agreed to their membership being counted towards that affiliation in an opt-in system
  • a binding code of conduct to be imposed on all candidates, parliamentarians and officials, Nationwide, as per the rules in NSW
  • community preselections with weighted votes from Party members equalling declared supporters to be the rule, rather than the exception

If we want to see John Faulkner’s vision for a reformed Labor Party come into being, we need to pass these motions at our branches, as many branches as possible. But that’s not enough. We need to pass these motions at electoral councils and electoral assemblies.  We need the motions to be sent to State Conference and Federal Conference. But that’s still not enough. We need to send delegates to State and Federal Conferences who will vote for these motions. There have been a lot of good motions that went down at conference because delegates didn’t support motions that their own electoral councils and assemblies and branches had passed. Once we have delegates at conference who are prepared to support these motions, then we’ll see real reform.


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8 Responses to How to make Faulkner’s vision happen.

  1. Frances Perkins says:

    I totally agree with all of Senator Faulkner’s proposed reforms. I recently rejoined the ALP to support reform. However is there really any hope?
    Member of the Murrah Branch near Narooma NSW.

  2. Ben Aveling says:

    [Edit: rereading the speech, I noticed and added two additional motions that I missed the first time through]

  3. JohnB says:

    If those at the top won’t move, perhaps some push from those at the workface would help change things.

    As a first (audacious?) move I suggest all members of ALP affiliated unions be granted honorary ALP membership (on an opt out basis) for the next 2-3 years. After that period, ALP membership fee collection via union dues payment.
    This will immediately significantly increase ALP R&F numbers.
    Inclusion of theses new members in ALP email-outs etc will increase political awareness and hopefully generate some interest in local branch participation etc.

    Perhaps internal democratic reform could then be driven by R&F – from the bottom upwards.

    • Ben Aveling says:

      That’s an excellent idea. Any reason not to make it permanent? i.e. membership of any affiliated union automatically includes ALP membership if you want it.

      • bighead1883 says:

        There`s not really another counter as to Union Bosses taking the members proxies as their own and weilding right factional power with this,
        A uion member may not actually be a Labor supporter but any that accept rank and file membership with their union membership are definate supporters Ben.

      • JohnB says:

        I see no reason why it shouldn’t become permanent – the objective should of course be to retain as many new members as possible.
        My thoughts as to suggesting a 2-3 yr fee free introductory period are;
        1) administratively clean and immediate effect – no costs complications,
        2) no ‘extra cost’ reason for union members not to trial/take up initial offer of membership,
        3) allow time to work out new ALP member fee collection structure and likely downward adjustment of each union body’s ALP affiliation fees,
        4) allows time to bed down ALP participation channels and protocols,
        5) allows time to create voting facilities/procedures/rules and amendment of voting blocs etc,
        6) allow time for processing applicants eligibility (not a member of another political party etc),
        7) allows time to organize induction into branch structures.
        As you see, these are nearly all administrative/transition matters,and thus should be handled as most expedient or convenient.

        Advantages? Many in my view.
        More democratic,
        Immediate broader/larger ALP membership base,
        Greater/enhanced membership participation,
        Direct indication/reflection of memberships views/needs/priorities,
        Strengthens ALP’s political arm to advance industrial issues legislatively,
        May help arrest decline in union membership, as is yet another reason to join a union,
        Addresses current antidemocratic/anachronistic voting strength of union execs.

        Without going on with more waffle, may I refer you to comments (constructive criticisms) I have written on Independent Australia (IA) suggesting a more progressive action / direction for ALP/ACTU/Unions here:,7013?cachebreak=1#comment-1644321271

        My sincere wishes are that John Faulkner’s reforms, and perhaps my suggestion above can be implemented ASAP, as the Labor party and the Union movement are bleeding unnecessarily in my opinion.

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